Jackpot How the super-rich really live--and how their wealth harms us all

Michael Mechanic

Book - 2021

"A senior editor at Mother Jones dives into the lives of the extremely rich, showing the fascinating, otherworldly realm they inhabit-and the insidious ways this realm harms us all"--

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2nd Floor 305.5234/Mechanic Due May 23, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Instructional and educational works
Published
New York : Simon & Schuster 2021.
Language
English
Physical Description
viii, 404 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 299-389) and index.
ISBN
9781982127213
198212721X
9781982127220
1982127228
Main Author
Michael Mechanic (author)
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Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Mother Jones senior editor Mechanic debuts with a unique look at the "social, psychological, and societal complications that come with great affluence and the reality that so few possess it." Relating the stories of people who have inherited a fortune, won the lottery, or hit some other type of "jackpot," Mechanic notes the awkwardness of having "long-lost friends and relations come out of the woodwork seeking handouts," and explains that no longer having a financial incentive to work can leave one feeling "unmoored." He describes $500 T-shirts and concierge medical services that cost as much as $40,000 per year, but cites evidence that people's sense of how well they're doing in life stops improving once they hit the "satiation point" of $105,000 in annual earnings. Mechanic also takes a skeptical view of "grand philanthropic gestures" made by billionaires who avoid taxes and underpay their workers, discusses the influence of money on politics, and sketches the origins of the "wealth fantasy" in American culture. Mechanic's nuanced perspective on wealth accumulation offers fresh insights, though he spends more time chronicling success stories than analyzing the structural forces that rig the economy in favor of the affluent. Still, this is an intriguing look at the boons and burdens of wealth. (Apr.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Drawing on interviews with company founders, executives, lottery winners and other fortunate citizens, a senior editor at Mother Jones dives into the lives of the extremely rich, revealing the world in which they inhabit and the way this world harms us all. 75,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"A senior editor at Mother Jones dives into the lives of the extremely rich, showing the fascinating, otherworldly realm they inhabit-and the insidious ways this realm harms us all"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A senior editor at Mother Jones dives into the lives of the extremely rich, showing the fascinating, otherworldly realm they inhabit'and the insidious ways this realm harms us all.Have you ever fantasized about being ridiculously wealthy? Probably. Striking it rich is among the most resilient of American fantasies, surviving war and peace, expansions and recessions, economic meltdowns and global pandemics. We dream of the jackpot, the big exit, the life-altering payday, in whatever form that takes. (Americans spent $81 billion on lottery tickets in 2019, more than the GDPs of most nations.) We would escape 'essential' day jobs and cramped living spaces, bury our debts, buy that sweet spread, and bail out struggling friends and relations. But rarely do we follow the fantasy to its conclusion'to ponder the social, psychological, and societal downsides of great affluence and the fact that so few possess it.What is it actually like to be blessed with riches in an era of plagues, political rancor, and near-Dickensian economic differences? How mind-boggling are the opportunities and access, how problematic the downsides? Does the experience differ depending on whether the money is earned or unearned, where it comes from, and whether you are male or female, white or black? Finally, how does our collective lust for affluence, and our stubborn belief in social mobility, explain how we got to the point where forty percent of Americans have literally no wealth at all?These are all questions that Jackpot sets out to explore. The result of deep reporting and dozens of interviews with fortunate citizens'company founders and executives, superstar coders, investors, inheritors, lottery winners, lobbyists, lawmakers, academics, sports agents, wealth and philanthropy professionals, concierges, luxury realtors, Bentley dealers, and even a woman who trains billionaires' nannies in physical combat, Jackpot is a compassionate, character-rich, perversely humorous, and ultimately troubling journey into the American wealth fantasy and where it has taken us.